West Side of Blue Ridge PKWY (MTB or Roadbike?)- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    West Side of Blue Ridge PKWY (MTB or Roadbike?)

    Next weekend I have scheduled a cabin retreat for my dad and I. I rented a cabin on the West side of the BRP 3-5 miles down Cruso Rd. We will be riding road motorcyles for a few hours each day. I did make it clear to him that I need my pedaling time too. I love MTB riding in the Piz but want to know what you think of the road riding in the area. It seems the West side of the BRP is off limits to trail riding. It would be great to avoid driving to the trails. If the road riding is good and relatively safe I'm good with that too. One look that looks tough but fun is Cove>Lovejoy>BRP.

    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crockpot2001 View Post
    Next weekend I have scheduled a cabin retreat for my dad and I. I rented a cabin on the West side of the BRP 3-5 miles down Cruso Rd. We will be riding road motorcyles for a few hours each day. I did make it clear to him that I need my pedaling time too. I love MTB riding in the Piz but want to know what you think of the road riding in the area. It seems the West side of the BRP is off limits to trail riding. It would be great to avoid driving to the trails. If the road riding is good and relatively safe I'm good with that too. One look that looks tough but fun is Cove>Lovejoy>BRP.

    Cheers!
    Drivers around here are ****ing nuts.

    You either have the locals who fly through the curves or the people from Florida who have no idea what a curve is.

    Tons of road bikers around here, but I have no clue on how they do it. lol

  3. #3
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    If you are interested in road biking, Haywood County has some great roads to ride on. Highway 276 can be high traffic, if you want to miss out on the heavier traffic, drive down to Bethel Store & park, and then ride up Lake Logan road to the parkway for a good out and back. Also, go to brbc.org and take a look at the cue sheets for Haywood County. As far as mtbing, up Highway 215, near the parkway, is the trailhead for Flat Laurel Creek Trail. Ride it and Ivestor Gap trail for a 16 mile out and back mtb ride in the high country.
    Last edited by wncbiker; 08-17-2012 at 04:56 PM.

  4. #4
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    If somebody gives you great advice for MTB loop and you'd prefer that, by all means go for it (after all, this is an MTB forum). I just wanted to give a +1 to saying that road biking in WNC is awesome! I moved here just so's I could ride the BRP any time I wanted to instead of having to wait for vacation time. I agree with wncbiker that 276 can be busy, but I've never hesitated to ride it either up or downhill. You could do a loop of 276/215/BRP in either direction.

    Given where you are staying, what I would do is keep it simple and ride up 276 to the Parkway and then do an out and back in one direction or the other. To the north, Mt. Pisgah is only 3 miles of fairly gentle climbing. From there you can descend as far as you are want and come back up. There are quite a few tunnels in this direction. Lights are not necessary in bright of day, but I'd recommend at least a small LED (technically, lights are required by Parkway regulations). I recommend a rear blinkie no matter what but many people ride without them.

    To the south, you get rolling but mostly uphill past Graveyard Fields, 215, and on up to Richland-Balsam Gap. Tip: there are no facilities in this direction, but if you descend slowly just a little bit further past R-B Gap (going south), maybe .1/.2 mile, you'll see a small spring flowing out a hose down low near the edge of the road. Great place to refill water bottles.

    If you want to venture a little further to the south, the climb from Balsam (US 19/23/74) up to Waterrock Knob is the best the BRP has to offer. 8 miles of steady climbing with great views on the way up and up at the Visitors Center. And then you get the sweetest, smoothest descent of any part of the BRP.

    No matter what you decide, hope you have a great trip! Happy riding and keep the rubber side down!
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
    T.S. Eliot

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wncbiker View Post
    If you are interested in road biking, Haywood County has some great roads to ride on. Highway 276 can be high traffic, if you want to miss out on the heavier traffic, drive down to Bethel Store & park, and then ride up Lake Logan road to the parkway for a good out and back. Also, go to brbc.org and take a look at the cue sheets for Haywood County. As far as mtbing, up Highway 215, near the parkway, is the trailhead for Flat Laurel Creek Trail. Ride it and Ivestor Gap trail for a 16 mile out and back mtb ride in the high country.
    I may be missing the newest details here. I'm looking at a Shining Rock Wilderness map that says "no bikes" on the trails you ID. Maybe something has changed?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
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    Flat Laurel Creek & Ivestor Gap Trails are outside of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area and are open to mtbs. In fact, Ivestor Gap is open to autos during late summer & fall.

  7. #7
    drunken pirate
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    Quote Originally Posted by wncbiker View Post
    Flat Laurel Creek & Ivestor Gap Trails are outside of the Shining Rock Wilderness Area and are open to mtbs. In fact, Ivestor Gap is open to autos during late summer & fall.
    Graveyard Ridge trail is also open to bikes from Ivestor Gap to the intersection with the Mountains to Sea Trail.
    More Trails, Not Less

    Adventures in Pisgah

  8. #8
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    You don't enter the wilderness until past Ivester Gap(north from there). Those 2 trails he mentioned are the only trails in that area that are indeed bike legal. In fact, motor vehicles(4x4 only) are allowed around this part of the year on Ivester Gap trail(old RR bed) to allow for the Blue Berry pickers of America to access the area.
    Last edited by Duckman; 08-22-2012 at 07:31 AM.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

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  9. #9
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    fwiw, I have actually witnessed a guy getting a ticket for no lights in a tunnel. Further, if you're chicken **** like I am, the tunnels may scare you.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by litespeedchick View Post
    fwiw, I have actually witnessed a guy getting a ticket for no lights in a tunnel. Further, if you're chicken **** like I am, the tunnels may scare you.
    No doubt. I haul arse thru the tunnels to minimize the chance of those Fl. drivers running me over.
    Last edited by Duckman; 08-22-2012 at 07:48 AM.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  11. #11
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    One time, I had a ranger follow me through all six of the tunnels between Soco Gap & Cherokee only to stop me at the end of the parkway to inform me that my blinker was not working. She stayed behind me so that no one would run up on me without the blinker. The thing about this was that my friend and I both checked our blinkers before the first tunnel to confirm that they were worker. So, make sure you have good batteries in those things, you never know when they will die on you

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duckman View Post
    You don't enter the wilderness until past Ivester Gap(north from there). Those 2 trails he mentioned are the only trails in that area that are indeed bike legal. In fact, motor vehicles(4x4 only) are allowed around this part of the year on Ivester Gap trail(old RR bed) to allow for the Blue Berry pickers of America to access the area.
    Access for blueberry pickers? Um, this sounds less exciting that Laurel Mtn or South Mills river

  13. #13
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    I wouldn't discount this ride because of 4X4s & blueberry pickers. The draw for these two trails is the scenic surroundings, these trails traverse some of the highest and most open terrain in the Pisgah District. Think of riding terrain just below tree line in the western mountains, with a little eastern mountains twist to it. On view from Flat Laurel Creek is here: https://www.mtbikewnc.com/images/springcolor.jpg. Think of 7-8 miles one way with views similar to this.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by wncbiker View Post
    I wouldn't discount this ride because of 4X4s & blueberry pickers. The draw for these two trails is the scenic surroundings, these trails traverse some of the highest and most open terrain in the Pisgah District. Think of riding terrain just below tree line in the western mountains, with a little eastern mountains twist to it. On view from Flat Laurel Creek is here: https://www.mtbikewnc.com/images/springcolor.jpg. Think of 7-8 miles one way with views similar to this.
    SOLD! Thanks a million. I will do this very ride.

  15. #15
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    Just saw Blue Ridge Bike Club post this ride for Saturday. Figured I'd copy it here since it's relevant to the thread about road loops. Whether you can make the ride or not, the cue sheet, map and profile are available in PDF:

    Saturday August 25
    WOW Ride: Cold Mountain to Pisgah Inn
    Begins PROMPTLY at 9:00am from Bethel Middle School, located on Hwy-215 south, approximately 5+ miles past the Canton Recreation Park.
    REQUIRED: **Front and Rear lights for the parkway tunnels**
    This is a beautiful, fun, and challenging ride.
    Make sure you have at least one spare tube, pump, a jacket. It can be chilly on the Parkway, especially at Pisgah! Make sure your bike is in top working condition, especially tires and brakes.
    There are long, steep descents on this route. If you're unaccustomed to long descents, remember not to ride your brakes or they will 'glaze over', or get too hot, and quit working. Remember to always 'pump' your rear brake, and/or alternate front-to-rear pumping.
    Helmets required.
    A difficult ride of 52.8 miles, total 4591 climbing.
    Cue sheets: http://<wbr>www.blueridgebicycleclub.org/<wbr>cue_sheets/haywood/bethel/<wbr>coldmountainpisgahinn.pdf
    Kathleen at [email protected]
    "Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go."
    T.S. Eliot

  16. #16
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    Yup. Blue berries peak up there around the 2nd weekend of Aug each yr.

    You'll be riding along the side of this..
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  17. #17
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    Blueberry crop is slim to none this year, it seems the warm winter & a late spring cold snap wasn't good for the blooms this year. Maybe that's why we having been seeing more bears in Asheville this summer....

  18. #18
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    FYI, ivester gap will beat you to death on a hartail, or trail running. just saying. crazy beautiful up there, though.

  19. #19
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    Yeah, it gets pretty rocky.

    Yes, if theres a late frost(just like last yr as well), there won't be any berries .

    Big-ol-fat berries.

    Acres and acres of berries when things go right.

    I'll backpack in and pack'm out. The wife makes a great cobbler.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  20. #20
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    WOW!!! Look at those! gorgeous. so those are from a couple of years ago?

    There are a few places in Pisgah and Dupont where you can find some blue berries, although certainly not in those quantities. Places where they are growing right over granite, which I'm guessing has something to do with why they are so small, but with concentrated flavor and sweetness. I missed them this year, but though I just timed it wrong.

  21. #21
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    Yeah. About 3-4 seasons ago. From the Flower Knob area.
    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  22. #22
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    I have a friend that will pick enough berries along the parkway in the Shining Rock/FlatLaurel/Middle Prong area to provide him with berries for breakfast throughout the year. This year he was not able to find many berries at all.

  23. #23
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    Another area where I have found berries in the amounts like at Shining Rock is around Hoopers Bald. Back in the early 1980s I spent a day on the side sloops of Hoopers Bald(pre Cherohalia Drive Days) helping with a endangered palnts survey and we were sidelined for quite a while eating berries. The bushes were so full, you could just rake your fingers along the branches and fill your hands with ripe berries.

  24. #24
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    Yes, Hooper and Huckleberry. I live in Robbinsville, about 20 miles from there.


    I camp up there in the winter. It was 4* this trip.






    "I've breathed the mtn air, man" Johnny Cash

    It's a long way to the top
    . . . if you wanna rock and roll (ac/dc)

  25. #25
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    NIce photos! In the past I have always enjoyed your posting with photos, it's good to see some new ones! Now that I am retired and not limited by time at work, I need to head back out into the southwestern part of the state & visit some of the places I haven't seen in awhile. Hoopers Bald sure did remind me of Black Balsam Knob & the whole Shining Rock/Middle Prong area. Sine I live in Canton, much of my weekend hiking has occurred there.

  26. #26
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    Thanks for the recommendations! It turned out to be a packed weekend full of motorcycle riding, beer, and ripping on the family. Dad loved the area and vows to return before too long. He rode the Harley and I rode a Suzuki Bergman 600cc scooter he brought for me (bad ass!). Not so secretly he likes the scooter a LOT more. We ripped up and down 276, 215, the BRP and 151. If you ever go there to ride the road, you HAVE to ride up and down 151. Due to the fun we were having I only got in two small MTB rides, one was to explore some fire roads up to the BRP that ended up having gates and a LOT of gun warning. The other day I rode up Club Gap then down some creek trail to a fire road near the stables that I took back to my truck. I then rushed back to the cabin to have lunch and hit the road with dad. He's 65 and won't be around forever so you have to make time.

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